CLINTON — The last time the Clinton River Kings stepped onto the floor in a game situation was Dec. 17, more than two weeks ago. Even though they played a scrimmage or two along the way, picking up right where they left off was a difficult task.
Still, Clinton defeated Davenport Central 68-62 on Friday night, thanks to a big third-quarter run.
Before that, Clinton and Davenport Central traded baskets and turnovers, which Clinton coach Nick Lawrence expected after having that much time off from a game experience.
"This is probably the scariest game of the year," Lawrence said. "It's almost like starting over again. You come to expect that mistakes that we normally wouldn't make do happen, and some of that is to be expected.
"The most important thing is,however, that we came out with a win."
Clinton committed 20 turnovers in its fifth win of the season.
"It's extremely difficult to get back into the swing of things," said senior Jalen Jones, who led the River Kings with 20 points. "We tried to scrimmage and practice, but it's not the same as a live game situation."
Jones was not in the starting lineup after being tardy for a shootaround earlier in the day.
"He handled it well, and I thought the team handled it well, too," Lawrence said. "He knew that was his punishment, accepted it and moved on."
Jones found it weird to be sitting on the bench at tip-off.
"It felt really weird not being out there, but I understood why," he said.
The second half started more pleasant for the River Kings, who came out of the locker room on a 12-0 tear in a span of three minutes.